Everton vs Arsenal Odds, Picks, Predictions | Premier League Preview
Pictured: Alex Iwobi. (Photo by Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images)
Everton vs Arsenal Odds
|Over / Under
-150 / +120
You’d never believe based on how the opening four matches have gone for the two clubs, but Everton have created more expected goals than Arsenal thus far in the new season.
The Gunners have won three of their four matches and are unbeaten in the league, but they've struggled to produce high quality chances in the center of the penalty area. They haven’t gotten the elite finishing rates over xG from Gabriel Martinelli, Martin Odegaard and Bukayo Saka that propelled their attack into elite tier last season.
Arsenal scored a late winner in stoppage time and a late third goal at the death to beat Manchester United just prior to the international break. Now fresh off the break, Arsenal start a massive week with a road trip to Everton, followed by a Wednesday Champions League tie and next week's North London Derby.
Everton have taken just one point from their first four matches and are now the third-most likely team to be relegated based on the betting market. Their poor start has been a combination of bad defending and poor finishing of their chances in front of goal. Given the potentially improving injury situation, new signing and underrated midfield, Everton remain undervalued at home in the market.
Read on for my Everton vs Arsenal pick and Premier League preview.
Everton will not have Jack Harrison available yet on Sunday, but Dominic Calvert-Lewin will be fit enough to play wearing a facemask from his cheekbone fracture. Calvert-Lewin has rarely been fit for Everton in the last few seasons, but he's been a productive central forward when on the pitch. New signing Beto finished his Everton debut with four shots and 0.3 xG too against Sheffield United, so building blocks of a capable PL attack are forming.
As much as Everton have struggled to finish chances for the last 16 months in the league, the midfield and forward groups have been a disruptive pressing unit and can once again break down Arsenal’s build play and create high turnovers up the pitch. That's why the attack ranks ninth in expected threat and second in big scoring chances created through the first four matches.
Everton haven't played any great teams so the numbers are inflated a bit, but that is considerably better than the bottom teams in the league that are also near them in the table. The Toffees have the third-most high turnovers forced in the league and some issues in build up are what led to Arsenal's defensive issues in the second half of last season. It was a key factor in the Toffees' 1-0 shock win at home against Arsenal in Sean Dyche's first match in charge last year.
The Gunners may be without Gabriel in the center of their defensive line on Sunday, forcing Ben White to play centrally and meaning Takehiro Tomiyasu slots in at right back. Gabriel is their best aerial defender and Everton are one of the heaviest crossing sides in the entire league under Dyche. If Gabriel is fit to start, that would be a boost for the Arsenal defense and build-up system.
Thomas Partey has been ruled out by Mikel Arteta and he's a key part of the Gunners' defensive transition, either as a starter or second half bench option.
Arsenal's lack of a true elite striker continues to hold this attack back just enough from reaching the elite level in the league. Eddie Nketiah gets solid shot numbers but his finishing isn't elite and his link up play with the midfield and wide players isn't nearly as good as that of Gabriel Jesus when he's in the lineup.
The Gunners haven't played a particularly good schedule of opposing defenses. Of their four games against Nottingham Forest, Manchester United, Fulham and Crystal Palace, only Palace grade out as above average thus far in the new year. The Gunners only put one past them.
In four games, Arsenal are second in box entries but just eighth in shots, seventh in big scoring chances and 10th in non-penalty xG. They played an entire match trailing against the league's worst defense (Fulham) and still weren't able to easily break them down. When the front three around the striker all have career years, you get the goal scoring season Arsenal did last year. If one or two aren't quite producing at those elite levels, you get a very good but not elite attack. That's been Arsenal this year.
I bet Arsenal at home against Manchester United two weeks ago, but this is a prime spot to fade the Gunners. Arsenal's final box score was good against United, but the final shot and xG tallies were inflated by the stoppage time production.
The market moved toward Arsenal in this match following that win, but given the dysfunction surrounding United, that win and performance aren't worth upgrading the Gunners' ratings.
I’d bet Everton +1 at -110 or better on Sunday.